NATIONAL LEGAL RESEARCH DESK
The provisions of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 are material. By virtue of Section 3 of the Act, every child of the age of 6-14 years shall have a right to free and compulsory education in a neighbourhood school till completion of elementary education. The Central Government has notified the Act in the Gazette on 27th August, 2009 and the Act has been brought into force with effect from 1st April, 2010. It may also be noted that Chapter 6 of the Act has special provisions for protection of the right of children. The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights has already been constituted. The said Commission now receives a statutory status by virtue of this Act. In view of the performance of the present National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, which has taken pioneering efforts, it is expected that on a close interface between the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, the State Governments and the Ministry of Women and Child Development, positive outcomes should actually be worked out.
It is, therefore, necessary that a coordinated effort must be made by the three agencies, namely, the Commission, the Ministry and the State Governments. Learned Solicitor General submitted that the recommendations be implemented by the concerned agencies. In the State/Union Territory, the responsibility must be vast either on the Chief Secretary or a Secretary Incharge of Children, Women and Family Welfare. It would be open to the State Government in appropriate cases to nominate a special officer for the said purpose not lower than the rank of a Secretary to the State Government. Each State must issue a circular effectively indicating how the recommendations will be implemented. We accept the submissions of the learned Solicitor General and direct that the said circular shall be issued within 4 weeks from today and a compliance report be filed by the Chief Secretary of each State to this Court.
From the above comprehensive submissions made by the learned Solicitor General it is abundantly clear that the Government of India is fully aware about the problems of children working in various places particularly in circuses. It may be pertinent to mention that the right of children to free and compulsory education has been made a fundamental right under Article 21A of the Constitution Now every child of the age of 6 to 14 years has right to have free education in neighbourhood school till elementary education. We have carefully mentioned comprehensive submissions and suggestions given by the learned Solicitor General and others. We plan to deal with the problem of children’s exploitation systematically.